From Conflict to Collaboration, A School Leader's Guide
By Robert Feirsen & Seth Weitzman
Conflict is both a timely and a timeless challenge in schools, stymying school reform initiatives and elevating administrators’ job stress. If “school is a family,” as many claim, it is often a dysfunctional one. Relationships between and among staff, parents, community and school boards may be destructively divisive, or alternatively, schools may avoid addressing controversial issues like inequity, fearful of tensions that would be unleashed.
From Conflict to Collaboration: A School Leader’s Guide to Unleashing Conflict’s Problem Solving Power offers a novel perspective. Rather than impeding school reform, school leaders may harness conflict to spark organizational vitality and growth. Honoring diverse viewpoints enables savvy school leaders to engage stakeholders in meaningful collaboration that builds capacity, enshrines productive dialogue and group problem-solving as cornerstones of school culture, and energizes the school community.
Drawing on knowledge from the fields of education, engineering, psychology and business, the book offers an on-the-job guide for present and future school leaders. Dozens of actionable leadership strategies are highlighted; case studies illustrate key concepts; and probing questions for school leaders and school improvement teams follow each chapter. In a step-by-step process, the book demonstrates how the techniques of design thinking may be applied to build a school’s “conflict agility.”